Ways to de-stress in the evenings

After the joys of a bank holiday comes the short week, which in one way is heavenly but it can also bring extra stress with a five day workload squeezed into four days.

This week I’ve thought myself to de-stress in more ways than one trying to keep the less hurried lifestyle I left behind in Islington front of mind. It’s not always easy but my willpower and conscious has a way of creeping up on me:

– Read a book on your way back from work. After a full day starring at a screen, put your phone/tablet in your bag and read what you want to read. I am completely obsessed with Bridget Jones’s Diary and have been wanting to read the new installation which I’m starting now
– Cook a nice meal and fully enjoy it. I love cooking and have been the main cook in our household for a while. I always find cooking quite relaxing and I find that a home cooked meal is often enjoyed much more. If you’ve read my eating right – getting inspiration you know I love a good cookbook. This week I’ve been lucky that Welly has been working from home so he’s been busy in the kitchen cooking up a storm – check out these banana, cinnamon, flaxseed and egg pancakes and a ginger and chilli broth with wheat free noodles and oven baked salmon:
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– Do 20 minutes of exercise. It really isn’t a lot but it really does make a difference. I’ve been doing my tone it up and yoga workouts when I walk through the door – it makes you focus on you for just 20 mins a day (we all deserve much more if you ask me)
– Go for a post-dinner walk. Now this is a new thing that moving to the house on the lake has allowed me to do. I’ve been cracking the walks and simply loving our lake at the end of the garden – so blissful and calming:

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What do you do to de-stress after a long day at work?

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Dreamy bank holiday – diy, friends & food

It just so happened that the last bank holiday of the year was the first bank holiday in the house on the lake for Welly and I.

We have extensive plans for the downstairs of our home so we wanted to paint a bit and put in some colour before we get going with our kitchen extension next year:
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I love Habitat so safe to say we paid them a quick visit. Our eBay antique and history-filled furniture are perfect backdrops to a punch of colour:

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Upstairs is another story. We’re currently getting the second bedroom ready for mama and papa Hansen’s visit in September – check out Welly exposing the fireplace:

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And ripping up the gorgeous chocolate brown carpet:

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Between all the diy and interior goodness we got to have our first dinner party with my favourite gal over at the house called abe and her hubby herringbone kitchens which was just dreamy! We followed this with a BBQ with good friends enjoying the fab weather until the bats came out to play!

This weekend has been one we’ve dreamed of for a very long time and the fact that we did it all is another tick on the to-do list 🙂

Healthy living – it’s all in the preparation

If you follow me on Instagram you’ll know I love a good food post and lately I’ve had lots of comments and questions about how I have the energy to make breakfast that delicious. And I must say it’s all in the preparation!

I, like everyone else, have a time demanding job and actually having time to put good things in your body can be difficult – if you don’t plan a little bit ahead that is. If you’ve read my blog post on making the most of your mornings you know that I love setting myself up for the day with exercise and a good hearty breakfast. It’s not a diet, it’s my lifestyle and one that I simply have come to love. I wanted to share a few tips on what I do to make it quite easy:

– Do a bit of meal prep. I boil my eggs a few days in advance for example which means all I have to do is peel them and pair them with what I love such as avocados, nuts, fruit, meat, fish etc – this was awesome:

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– buy what is on offer at your local shop that week to make sure you have a varied diet. Doing a weekly shop gives you an idea of food for the week and makes breakfast, lunch and dinner easy to manage. We had some awesome cooked mackerel from ocado this week:

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– use leftovers from your store cupboard or from last night’s dinner to make an awesome lunch. I love some good liquid proof tupperware to take to work:

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– get ready the night before. I love my juicer and get my veg and machine set up ready to go just before I’m off to bed. All I have to do is press play and we’re good to go:
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A good and healthy meal makes me smile and with just a few minutes prep each day it really is easy to achieve!

What are your tips on preparation?

Home decor – Inspiration from other countries

If you’re a frequent reader of this blog you’ll know that Welly and I became homeowners to our little gem the house on the lake

Coming home to our own house was incredible and actually quite romantic. There is a certain excitement that comes with knowing something is yours to do with what you want and our project doesn’t let us down! We’ve already started decorating our pad however, being in another country can inspire new ideas and intrigue design.

I love the colours of the bench against the brick, I love the wood and the rustic love affair:
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However, on the other side the flowers bring life, wonderful smells and colours into a room or a space:

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However, we’re just about to take the wall paper down – it’s actually exciting as I will no longer wake up to oversized flowers on my beloved fireplace:

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This bank holiday I can’t wait to get properly started and really make our gem come to life!

To fitbit or not to fitbit – the question I’ve been asking myself lately

The newest tech and gadgets have always been a thing of mine. I just love getting the first look at everything, which is probably why I ended up in the tech industry!

As you know I love my fitness and I enjoy seeing progress, feeling great and almost in a sense compete with myself in my progress. It probably comes as no surprise that I love wearable tech and the digital health industry – it truly has become a passion of mine.

I have never hidden the fact that I love my fitbit – I used to have it on me constantly through my half marathon training, my walks to work and basically everywhere I went. And the day I accidentally ‘killed’ my device was a bit of a bummer!

However, as I’ve gotten used to simply walking, exercising and living without it I’ve been thinking a lot about the pros and cons of such devices so here goes:

Pros
– it’s a great motivator, I always wanted to take more steps and it made me make an effort to leave my desk and go out for a walk at lunch
– it’s a great tool to learn about yourself and how much you move in your daily life
– if you are training for a challenge you will love it, I loved seeing how fast I improved
– it’s fun competing against others, we have a company chart and it does for great conversations

Cons
– the passion becomes an obsession and you can feel a bit irritated if you haven’t reached your goal
– you compete against yourself, really is that healthy in the long run?
– do you become naturally active or does it become a chore?
– other people have your data, it’s like Big Brother

I’m still incredibly fascinated with the whole industry but questions do creep up sometimes, which I’m not sure I can yet answer…

What are your thought on wearable technology?

Everyone needs a holiday – appreciation

It’s often said that taking time off from work, especially when you work in an always-busy environment, can leave you feeling full of guilt. To my own dissatisfaction I must admit that I’m one of those people.

I admit that I get a kick out of being busy, I love always being on the go, making sure I do my exercise/fitness and fill my days with things that make me feel like I make the most of them.

However, after reflecting on a year that’s been far from what I anticipated I decided this holiday was going to be different – I wanted to fill my days with relaxation, laughs, sunshine and let my always-busy mind get used to the slow(er) pace.

So what did I do? Well if you’re like me or if you just enjoy the ‘good life’ I’d urge you to try the following:

– Surround yourself with people who don’t take themselves too seriously, they’ll make you laugh till your tummy hurts (trust me, I couldn’t flex my muscles the next day). I mean this is basically the theme-tune to the holiday: baby monkey riding on a pig

– Read the books you want to read! It’s easy to convince yourself that you don’t have time to read during the week but on holiday you have no excuse – I would highly recommend Return to Mandalay or if you want a good laugh go for The stars’ tennis balls

– Use local ingredients and cook your heart out! We made full use of the BBQ and marinated meats from the local butchers whilst chopping meters of delicious fresh veg:
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– Taste the local wine! It appeared that Italy is a bit empty in August and as we stayed in a remote village we had to go on the search for wine as the ‘usual place’ was closed for the month. However after trying to ask for help in our best Italian we came away with 12 litres of wine, which we fully enjoyed:

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– Enjoy your time in the sunshine (use sun lotion – I’m all about SPF 50). Enjoy every second of it and whilst you’re at it appreciate life, your health, your friends and yourself:

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What is the one thing that makes a holiday for you?

Mindful approaches to positive nutritional change

This is food for thought! Our thinking around food is often distorted and sometimes can be a dangerous and damaging mental game. Ruth is one of my favourite bloggers and people on this crazy planet – definitely worth a read if you want to alter the way you fit food into your life and the way you think about ‘meal time’!

Let Her Eat Clean

Right before holiday I attended Katie Sheen’s truly brilliant course on Mindful approaches to positive nutritional change. It was six and a half hours of light bulb moments and metaphorical jumping up and down in agreement with a resounding series of internal “yes, yes, yes-es!” It was a wonderful continuation of my mindfulness journey.

The course made a big impact and allowed me to have one of my most enjoyable holidays yet. A week of treating myself, a week of next to no guilt, a week of thinking about and appreciating every mouthful of French deliciousness that passed my lips. Here are just some of the culinary highlights from our week in France:

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Katie is wonderful; an honest, open character who brings bagfuls of personal and anecdotal experience to her sessions as well as the confirmation that she’s no purist and can’t be left alone with a box of Fondant Fancies.

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